Daily Archives: 03/11/2014

Alcohol related health map of the UK

This was a news story covered by HuffPost UK in September

Places in the UK with the highest rates of people admitted to hospital for alcohol-related liver disease have been mapped out by health officials, in a bid to “paint a powerful picture of one of the many impacts that alcohol has on patients and the NHS in this country.”

UK alcohol health map 2014

The map (click to enlarge) shows rates of regional emergency admissions for every 100,000 people living in each area during this timeframe.

The place with the highest rate of admissions was Greater Manchester where 45.8 people out of every 100,000 living in the region were admitted as an emergency.

The places with the lowest rates of admissions were Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire where hospitals in the regions admitted 14.7 people out of every 100,000 people.

HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said: “This map paints a powerful picture of one of the many impacts that alcohol has on patients and the NHS in this country.”

Jackie Ballard, chief executive of charity Alcohol Concern, said: “These figures show that the problems caused by alcohol misuse are continuing to put an increasing strain on our NHS.

“More than half of those who drink do so at risky levels and these figures show it isn’t just binge drinking youngsters but middle-aged, and often middle class drinkers who are regularly drinking above recommended limits. It’s this regular drinking of a bit too much too often that stores up all sorts of health problems.

“Unless we start taking this seriously and acknowledge the health problems too much alcohol can cause, the situation will only get worse.”

So in my neck of the woods we’re in the middle statistically. What we have to remember though is that this is hospital admissions for alcohol related liver disease and that these are people where the outward physical signs of harm are now manifesting.  75% of the damage is done by this stage.

Alcohol Concern have also released an Alcohol Harm Map that allows you to drill down statistically for each region and county.  So looking at their statistics 20% of my county are drinking at a level which increases the risk of damaging their health.  1 in 5.  That’s A LOT.  That doesn’t include the high risk drinkers, which is a further 6% taking the county total up to 26% or 1 in 4.  Jeepers 🙁

And to me what’s really interesting is that the increasing risk drinkers have a higher cost burden at £20.2m per year compared to the high risk drinkers cost burden of £6.9m.

If there was a programme that could help the increasing risk drinkers to reduce and manage their drinking therefore preventing them becoming high risk drinkers that would be a total saving of £27.1m a year in this county alone.  I appreciate that there will always be those who, for whatever reason, cannot be helped but surely it’s worth piloting at least to see what the real time impact is?  Why this isn’t happening just confounds me as it seems so obvious ………

What do you think?